Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Rest in Peace: Deacon Donald Bentley, 1940-2012

the Inland Register

(From the February 16, 2012 edition of the Inland Register)

Deacon Don Bentley died Jan. 25 after a long illness.

Deacon Donald Bentley, ordained for the Diocese of Spokane Aug. 30, 1980, died Jan. 25 after a long illness. He was 71 years old.

The vigil service was held the evening of Feb. 3, and the funeral Mass was celebrated the following day, both at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Spokane.

He was born May 6, 1940, in Rochester, N.Y. He retired as a Master Sergeant after 24 years in the Air Force and made his home in Spokane.

He married Mary Lou Conway, and together they raised six children. The couple also has 17 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Deacon Bentley was predeceased by his parents and one sister.

He was a member of the second class of deacons ordained for the Spokane Diocese, ordained Aug. 30, 1980, by Bishop Lawrence Welsh at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes.

He participated in several ministries over the years, including Nightwalk, as a volunteer Hospice chaplain, and delivering for Meals on Wheels.

Deacon Bentley also held assignments in parishes in the Spokane area: St. Francis of Assisi, St. Mary in Spokane Valley, St. Joseph in Rockford, and Fairchild Air Force Base.

Because of health reasons, he retired from active ministry in 2005.

“Deacon Don Bentley lived his life and ministry as a deacon with deep faith and faced his obstacles of poor health in these later years with courage,” said Bishop William Skylstad, Bishop Emeritus of the Spokane Diocese. “He and his wife, Mary Lou, were always a source of inspiration to me. His commitment as a deacon, with the support of Mary Lou, provides all of us the opportunity to thank God for this servant in the Church. May he rest in peace.”

Deacon John Byrne, past Director of Deacons for the diocese, described Deacon Bentley as “a family-oriented, compassionate, spiritual person, as was evident in his diaconal ministry. He had a wonderful sense of humor, which he maintained throughout his struggles with his failing health.”

The present Director of Deacons, Deacon John Sicilia, echoed those observations.

“Even though Don was retired, he would participate in various diocesan functions as his health would permit,” said Deacon Sicilia. “He always enjoyed visiting with his brother deacons and wives. Don and Mary Lou are a true example of the Sacrament of Matrimony in the way they lived their commitment. Don will be missed by all those whose lives he touched.”

The family asks that memorial contributions in Deacon Bentley’s name be made to Nightwalk Ministries, Hospice of Spokane, the Holy Names Sisters, the Poor Clare Sisters, or Meals on Wheels.

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